Dual booting

That brings me nicely on to dual booting. Dual booting is a way of having two or more operating systems for your computer. You simply select which one you want shortly after turning it on. You get the option via the keyboards arrow keys. To set it up you first need to partition your hard drive. This can be done in various ways and with various software. One way is to install disc partitioning software onto your machine once you have windows installed. Then you simply run it as a program, it will analyse your system and hard drives and give you the option of shrinking the one you have to create another.

The method I prefer is to create a bootable disc from the initial software installation. The program I use for this is Easeus disc partitioning software and once it is installed on a machine you can select the option for making a bootable CD. For this you obviously need to have a CD/DVD disk writer on your system but once you have made a bootable disc you don’t really need to have the software installed anymore. By bootable I mean that you can use the CD/DVD on its own on a computer without any operating system installed and this is my preferred method of working. The reasons being that there is no data to destroy if you get it wrong and secondly creating partitions is much quicker without any operating systems present as you have no data to move about and although it hardly ever goes wrong creating a new drive by halving one that you are using can literally take hours due to the amount of data that has to be moved about.

Once you have your hard drive partitioned into two different drives it’s as though you literally have two separate hardware drives. Your computer will now see them as two different hard drives and you will find it easier if you label them (never a bad idea when it comes to being able to differentiate between them). You just have to right click on the drive and the rename option comes up on screen. I usually just put the name of the operating system.

Now when it comes to installing your operating system you will be given the option of which drive you want to install it on. Once you have chosen that it will all install pretty much the same as it did when you only had one drive. The beauty is that you can now install another different or the same operating system on the other drive. The advantages are many; once you’ve tried it I don’t think you’ll be want to stuck with one again.

With multiple operating systems you could have windows 7 on one partition and windows 8 on the other. That way you could use windows 8 to get used to it but have windows 7 to fall back on. You could have windows on one partition and Ubuntu on the other to get the best of both worlds. You could have windows on one partition which could be you main system but maybe it’s all getting a bit slow with other programs and stuff running in the background. You could do a fresh install of your operating system on a new partition without rubbing anything off your other. Then use your new fast installation but if you forgotten anything it’s still available on your old partition. This is the way I do things on my computer. I have a spare partition to install my new OS to without rubbing off my old one. After a few months use if I’ve not had to go back to my old OS I can rub it off and use that as the next new one.

You can use two versions of the same operating system with different programs installed. Why would you want to do this? Well I use this approach as I use my computer for two different reasons. I use it as a general computer as most people do for emails, internet and multiple office uses but I also use it as a dedicated music computer. So one partition is set up as a “general” computer and the other has the same operating system on but it has just music production software on it. There’s no email software, no internet browser and so no antivirus software. This leaves more resources for the running programs so the machine runs quicker and also there are no distractions from me checking emails and going on the internet!

You might also want to use another partition for trying out various software downloads and verifying that it’s what you want and comes with no “extra” things that you didn’t want like the multitude of pop ups that seem to get added on to all sorts of software these days, like things that pop up and tell you your computer is running slow or programs that change your browsers home page on to something that they want you to use. Then you can keep your main operating system free of this rubbish.